In stronger seasons, I’ve embraced the hardships as they come, joyfully giving thanks, because I know that the hard thanksgivings are the ones that see us through, the ones that feed the hope. But sometimes, the brokenness overwhelms. Discouragement reigns and I ask “Why me?” rather than accepting the trials as tools for growth. In these uglier, weaker moments, I may even resent the struggles and selfishly and foolishly dig my heels in against the will of God.
I’m creeping slowly out of such a season.
You see, for years, brokenness seemed to me a sign of weakness. I don’t want to be weak. I don’t want to admit brokenness or defeat—ever. But this hard-hearted perspective is not only a symptom of pride, but also of rebellion, of a dangerous and poisonous pharasitical attitude. I told a close friend last week that really this ugly piece of me that rears up from time to time . . . I just want to stab it to death.
I hate the struggle, but God uses this very struggle to reveal my own brokenness. He opens my eyes to it in the most painful and shocking ways, so that I might bring it to Him and let Him remove it.
The revelation of our brokenness is an opportunity to get closer to Jesus.
Part of allowing Jesus to become my everything has involved some hard, humbling moments of both discipline and grace.
Sometimes, If I’m honest, I’m not receptive to either.
I forget that when God sees me—because He sees all of me—He doesn’t want to stab those broken bits of me to death like I do. He gathers me up in His arms and loves me, with all my fragmented shards and scrapes. He lays me out in discipline because He knows that if I’d let Him in, I could be better, I could better reflect Him.
There’s a strange and certain beauty in the broken lives of believers. Christ shines through the holes, and miraculously His glory covers what we cannot bear to look at in ourselves, if we let Him.
"We cannot grow to be more like Jesus without brokenness." - Mary DeMuth, Everything
A common struggle I experience in the repeated refinement process is the frequent ways I speak hurt into my own heart. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Those times when my sinful attitudes are revealed to me, I often choose to speak harshly and cruelly to myself. My inner monologue can be obnoxious and foul, tearing me down from the inside out.
No one speaks such brutality to me and yet I hurl these words boldly and fiercely at myself without a moment's pause.
This kind of response to our sinful mistakes ruins the opportunity for growth. When God enlightens us to our woeful ways, the opportunity to heal is quickly stomped on when we spend our energy chastising ourselves so harshly that God’s love is eclipsed by our own brutality.
Self-awareness can be a gift if we choose to pray about and take action against our sinful tendencies. And, by take action, I do not mean by way of verbal assault on our hearts and minds from within.
The answer here is grace, both accepting God's generous forgiveness and extending that forgiveness and grace to ourselves. The reminder in 2 Corinthians to “take our thoughts captive” is helpful when considering this:
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5).
The voice that condemns and habitually convicts us with guilt when we’ve asked and received forgiveness is not God’s voice, and as such, must be ignored and renounced.
Learning to make Jesus our everything is no easy task. It’s a continual process, a decision that must be made by way of a hundred little decisions each day.
He tenderly reveals our nature and choices so that we might bring the mess of our lives to Him for His mending.
May we live with the willingness to heal, the grace to forgive, and the humility to accept His mercy—every day.
How has God humbled you, and drawn you closer to Himself?
Mary’s book continues to challenge me. I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy for yourself. It’s definitely worth the investment. Also, you have to watch this inspiring trailer for Mary’s new book.
CC Image • David Salafia on Flickr